Adults by the hundreds are flocking to the orthodontist in search of the help they never received when they were young. It's never too late to seek help from the orthodontist, though adults may face some unique challenges when they acquire braces. Read on to find out more about choices in appliances and how to make your orthodontic experience more successful.
Choose From Several Adult Appliance Options
All orthodontic devices work to slowly and gradually bring your smile into alignment. Take a look at some of the options adult patients can choose from:
1. Traditional Braces: This tried-and-true option involves the orthodontist adhering brackets to the fronts of your teeth and then connecting those brackets with wires. Regular visits to the orthodontist allow them to tighten the wire a bit each time. It can take several months—anywhere from 18 months to three years—for the braces to completely accomplish their job. As with all these options, the time needed to bring your mouth into alignment depends on the individual. The "full metal" look of old has been replaced with options that reduce the metal wires and include options for clear, tooth-colored or white braces.
2. Aligners: This option means a tray that fits over the teeth and can be removed. Wearers remove the alignment device for eating and cleaning. Since aligners are not in use 24/7, it can take longer for the straightening to happen. On the other hand, they are meant to attract a lot less attention since they are clear and appear less obtrusive. The aligners are changed every few weeks to promote movement. Patients with large gaps between the teeth may find the traditional brace choice more appropriate.
3. Lingual Braces: These braces look and work very similarly to traditional braces. Instead of being glued to the fronts of your teeth, lingual braces are attached to the back. This type of brace needs more customized fitting and may be more expensive than other types of braces.
Tips to Keep in Mind
1. It should be noted that the above options can be mixed and matched as needed. For example, some patients start off with aligners and then finish things off with traditional braces.
2. Adults have more issues with bone loss and malleability than children. Braces involve not only the movement of the teeth but the entire jaw and issues with bone hardening or bone loss can affect the treatment. Expect the orthodontist to do an evaluation of your jaw bones before you get braces.
3. Cost for orthodontic treatment is a big consideration. While insurance helps, it may not pay the entire cost. According to statistics, the average cost of traditional braces ranges around $5,000. Aligner braces can cost anywhere from $3,000 to $8,000.
Speak to an orthodontist to learn more about your adult orthodontic treatment options.